Big State Flava Jam – 2016

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Grapevine, TX – College coaches, scouts, and evaluators can always count on seeing great talent and a high level of competition when attending Big State Flava Jam. Teams from every corner of the U.S. come to show up and show out. Every game on every court will have someone worthy of an eval or a write up. This time of year and events like Flava Jam help give me a greater appreciation of how blessed I am to be able to cover these amazing kids and watch them grow and improve. Here are some of the kids that jumped out at me. Some you know and some you don’t but all are deserving.

’18 Shyia Smith 6-0 PF/C Oklahoma Select Red – Shyia is a strong physical player with great size. She uses her body well to knock defenders off balance. Smith absorbs and finishes through contact. She is a monster on the glass.

’19 Mekayla Furman 5-7 PG/SG Oklahoma Select Red – Furman is a solid combo guard that displayed tremendous quickness off the dribble going both ways. She handles defensive pressure really well and does a great job keeping her head up to see the floor. Furman does a great job of finding open teammates.

’18 Madyson Johnson F Bluestar Dallas Wylie – You do not want to be on the receiving end of a drop step post move from Madyson. Her physicality is off the charts. She fills the lane in transition and does a good job of making herself available for post entries. Johnson uses her body well to keep defenders on her back.

’18 Meagan Lee 5-7 PG Bluestar Dallas Wylie – Meagan is a crafty PG that finds a way to make positive things happen for her team. She is very shifty off the dribble and is strong attacking with both hands. She is a strong penetrator and operates well in tight spaces.

’18 Makayla Melton 6-0 PF Oklahoma Shock Diaz – Melton has great qualities that you want in a big. She has good footwork, nice touch, and soft hands. Makayla uses her length and good hands on defense to get deflections and block shots.

’19 Kennedy Wilson G TX Elite Adidas Lady Warriors – Kennedy has great bounce that helps her keep defenders off balance. She displayed a nice right to left cross over and has a knack for finishing amongst the trees.

’19 Christine Murphy G/F TX Elite Adidas Lady Warriors – Christine is a super long and athletic wing. She is comfortable playing with her back to the basket or facing up. She uses her super long strides to get from point A to point B. Murphy has a smooth game.

’19 Ila Lane 6-3 C Team Superstar – Ila has a good upside and she has the one thing you can’t teach, size. It usually takes young players her size time to develop strong low post footwork and understand how to play tall. Lane demonstrated both. Although she will continue to develop her back to the basket game, she understands how important it is to finish high and keep the ball away from those pesky guards.

’19 Mele Kailahi 5-9 G Team Superstar – Kailahi is one of the most well rounded players in her class. She impacts the game in a multitude of ways. Mele scores at all three levels. She knocks down threes, hits the mid range shots, and is tough around the basket. Defenders have to pay a lot of attention to her in transition which helps create open opportunities for her teammates. Mele is a strong rebounding guard.

’19 Tiona Mackey 5-9 G Arkansas Mavericks Blue Star – Tiona is a rangy guard with off the charts athleticism. Mackey creates for herself off the dribble and does a great job setting up defenders via back cuts and with the use of screens. Scoring without the ball is a lost art that Mackey has pretty much mastered. Tiona’s offensive skill set puts a lot of pressure on the defense.

’19 Lynell Washington 5-3 G Nola Lady Jazz – Lynell displayed wonderful body control, tremendous foot speed, and quickness. She is a tough shot maker and has a really nice vertical.

’21 Zyniah Thomas 5-2 G DFW Moe Jeff Elite – Zyniah put on a ball handling exhibition. The dynamic guard showed off her blazing speed, high basketball IQ, and made big play after big play that helped her loaded DFW Moe Jeff Elite squad win ball games. Thomas attacks the basket with intent and handles herself well in tight spaces. She has the ball in her hands a lot and for a young player is very efficient.

’21 Callie Cooper 5-4 F DFW Moe Jeff Elite – Callie plays the game at a very high level. She is a nightmare in the open floor. Cooper finishes well at the rim, can step out and bomb, and is a willing passer. This combination makes her a really tough guard for opponents. Simply put, Callie makes plays.

’21 Aariya Cotto 5-2 G DFW Moe Jeff Elite – Aariya is a jack of all trades and a master of none. She does a lot on the basketball court. She rebounds well, is a solid defender, distributes the ball, fills the lanes, finishes in transition, and has a wonderful demeanor about herself.

’19 Jaylen Mallard 6-0 F AR Mavericks Elite – Jayden can stretch the floor, showed good ball handling ability, and can shoot outside consistently. The versatile big is effective inside as well and uses her long athletic frame to finish over the top of defenders.

’18 Ariana Guinn 5-5 G AR Mavericks Elite – Ariana is an outstanding facilitator. She snaked her way in and out of the painted area and created open shots for her teammates. Guinn has a great feel for the game and controlled tempo like all good floor generals. Loved her fearless mentality.

’18 Mikelle Cole 6-1 F AR Mavericks Elite – I enjoyed watching Mikelle’s aggression and tenacity. She attacks every loose ball and works hard on the offensive glass. Cole runs the floor hard and dives straight to the painted area in transition to establish position. She makes it really tough on opposing bigs who don’t run the floor as well as her.

’18 McKinnley Douglas 6-0 F Elite All Starts McGee – McKinnley is a bruiser around the rim. She rebounds well on both the offensive and defensive backboards. Douglas eats up space in the paint and covers ground on the defensive end. When she gets low and establishes and holds her position she is hard to contain.

’18 Kayla Wells 6-1 F Texas United Nike EYBL – Kayla Wells does it all on a basketball court. She has a variety of offensive weapons at her disposal. She can break down defenders off the bounce going either way, she is a knock down shooter, and she is extremely crafty around the rim. Her skill set is extremely unique. Kayla can step out and consistently hit outside shots and is a premier stretch player.

’18 Madison Williams 6-0 G Texas United Nike EYBL – Madison is a freakish athlete. She is explosive to the whole, has a quick first step, and blow by speed. There is no wasted motion with Madison. She uses her long strides and length to slash to the basket. Williams has a wonderful vertical and can flat out fly. She glides through the air and makes difficult shots look easy. She is just as dynamic on defense. She contest shots at the rim, plays the passing lanes, gets deflections, and applies tough on ball pressure.

’20 Myra Gordon 6-0 G Texas United Nike 15U EYBL – Myra is a smart sound basketball player. She is a tremendous triple threat player that consistently knocks down shots, makes the right passes, and can create for herself and others off the dribble. Gordon has all the intangibles that you want in a player. She is a good teammate, works hard, and loves the game.

’19 Jordyn Oliver 5-11 G Texas United Nike 15U EYBL – Oliver is an elite scorer. She never takes plays off and is always playing at a high level. Jordyn exudes confidence in her game. Having the skill set to size defenders up and beat them off the dribble or knock down jumpers in their face gives her every right to be confident in her abilities.

’18 Kiara Jefferson 5-8 G Oakland Soldiers Elite – Kiara has a wonderful feel for the game and understands when she needs to distribute or get a bucket. Her number one objective is getting layups. Jefferson does a good job of getting separation from defenders.

’18 Zay Green 6-1 G DFW TJack Elite – It has really been fun watching this young ladies game evolve over the last three years. Her basketball IQ is off the charts. She does a wonderful job of drawing defenders and kicking to open teammates. She destroys zones with her ability to find the soft spots in the defense and knock down the three ball. When she gets it inside she can float it over the top of bigs or use her outstanding footwork to get around defenders. Green is one of the top players in her class and will keep adding to her game.

’17 Alexis Morris 5-7 G DFW TJack Elite – We can’t cover a tournament with Alexis Morris playing and not write something about her. She is that girl and pretty much draws a crowd to every game she plays. Morris did her usual thing. She consistently keeps defenders off balance with her stop and go speed combined with her sick ball handling. Morris gets by defenders, keeps them on her hip, and then at the last minute creates just enough space to get her shot off via step backs, fadeaways, or acrobatic layups. All of which are super effective and usual end with the same result, buckets.

’20 Jordyn Merritt 6-2 F Lady ProSkills Elite – Jordyn Merritt is a young, talented, and confident basketball player. She gets it done with strong play and wonderful pivot work inside. She is silky smooth and has a soft buttery touch around the rim. I love how Merritt attacks the offensive boards and then explodes up to the basket to finish. Jordyn has a nice face up game and can draw bigs out who don’t have the foot speed to stay in front of her. It usually results in a bunch of buckets at the rim for Merritt. Her ability to knock 10-15 foot jumpers is what draws those bigs out. Jordyn’s future is bright.

’20 Sarah Andrews 5-8 PG Lady ProSkills Elite – One word to describe Sarah Andrews, dynamic. I first saw Sarah play when she was with the Lady Jets and all I could say was OMG. She was all over the court dropping dimes, blocking shots, splashing from three, locking down the opposing team’s best player, etc etc. Andrews thinks the game and can easily identify situations throughout the game. Her passion and love for the game is second to none.

’21 Jade Hazelbaker 5-0 G Austin Johnson Academy of Hoops – Jade is a spark plug always looking for an opportunity to get out and push the ball in the open court. She protects the ball well and is always looking to distribute. For as much as Hazelbaker has the ball in her hands she rarely turns it over.

’18 McKenzie Forbes 6-0 G Arizona Select Black – Guards with size and length are extremely difficult to handle. McKenzie has that height and versatility that coaches dream of having at the guard spot. She uses that size and her vision to see and finish over the top of usually smaller defenders. Forbes’s size allows her to set cross screens for post players and cause a lot of mismatches in her teams favor.

’18 Caitlin Bickle 6-2 F Arizona Select Black – Caitlin is an active big that has no limits to how hard she plays. She goes all out at all times. Bickle cleans up all the trash around the rim but don’t get it twisted Caitlin’s game is not limited to just playing hard to get hers. She is a skilled ball player. Her passing skills and ability to stretch the floor make her an ideal pick and pop player.

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